A trapper provides various references to the important of fat meat, which was plentiful in the areas to the west of the Rockies. "The Sheep were all very fat so that this could be called no other than high living"
November 1, 1843
Journal of a Trapper
...we travelled down this stream about 15 Mls and stopped to kill and dry Buffaloe meat sufficient to load our loose horses. On the 22d We moved down 10 mls. where we found thousands of Buffaloe Bulls and killed a great number of them as the Cows were very poor at this season of the year.
Here we Killed a couple of fine Bulls and took some of the best meat.
These peaks bear the French name of Tetons or Teats - The Snake Indians call them the hoary headed Fathers. This is a beautiful valley consisting of a Smooth plain intersected by small streams and thickly clothed with grass and herbage and abounds with Buffaloe Elk Deer antelope etc.
Here we again fell on to Lewis' fork which runs in a Southern direction thro. a valley about 80 mls long then turning to the west thro. a narrow cut in the mountain to the mouth of Salt River about 30 miles. This Valley is called "Jackson Hole" it is generally from 5 to 15 mls wide: the Southern part where the river enters the mountain is hilly and uneven but the Northern portion is wide smooth and comparatively even the whole being covered with wild sage and Surrounded by high and rugged mountains upon whose summits the snow remains during the hottest months in Summer. The alluvial bottoms along the river and streams inter sect it thro. the valley produce a luxuriant growth of vegetation among which wild flax and a species of onion are abundant. The great altitude of this place however connected with the cold descending from the mountains at night I think would be a serious obstruction to growth of most Kinds of cultivated grains. This valley like all other parts of the country abounds with game.
On the North and West were towering rocks several thousand feet high which seem to overhang this little vale - Thousands of mountain Sheep were scattered up and down feeding on the short grass which grew among the cliffs and crevices: some so high that it required a telescope to see them.
We now seated ourselves for a few minutes to rest our wearied limbs and gaze on surrounding objects near us on either hand the large bands of Mountain Sheep carelessly feeding upon the short grass and herbage which grew among the Crags and Cliffs whilst Crowds of little lambs were nimbly Skipping and playing upon the banks of snow.
The next morning at daybreak I arose and kindled a fire and seeing the mules grazing at a short distance I filled my tobacco pipe and sat down to Smoke, presently I cast my eyes down the mountain and discovered 2 Indians approaching within 200 yards of us I immediately aroused my companion who was still sleeping, we grasped our guns and presented them upon the intruders upon our Solitude, they quickly accosted us in the Snake tongue saying they were Shoshonies and friends to the whites, I invited them to approach and sit down then gave them some meat and tobacco, they seemed astonished to find us here with Mules saying they knew of but one place where they thought mules or horses could ascend the mountain and that was in a NE direction.
But for my part I was well contented for an eye could scarcely be cast in any direction around above or below without seeing the fat sheep gazing at us with anxious curiosity or lazily feeding among the rocks and scrubby pines. The bench where we encamped contained about 500 acres nearly level. 16th We staid at this place as our wounded comrade had suffered severely the day before. Some went down the stream to hunt a passage while others went to hunt Sheep. Being in Camp about 10 ock I heard the faint report of a rifle overhead I looked up and saw a sheep tumbling down the rocks which stopped close to where I stood but the man who shot it had to travel 3 or 4 miles before he could descend with safety to the Camp. The Sheep were all very fat so that this could be called no other than high living both as regarded altitude of position and rich provisions